Thursday, August 2, 2007

The vegan issue with collegues

My workplace prevents me from accessing blogger, probably knowing that employees will waste company's money by doing that, haha... Nevertheless, I decided to blog in my email lest I feel tired after I reached home.

As a newbie, vegan/vegetarian person in an alien environment, I believe all of us have the awkward moments with new acquaintances. My collegues don't know I am a vegan and they gave me chocolates, cakes, etc. out of goodwill. Naturally, I have to decline. Yesterday, I declined some chocolates from a collegue and she asked me why, so I told her I don't take dairy (sometimes I can be so afraid of mentioning the word "vegetarian" like some of the omnivores who will be so freaked out when they heard the word "vegetarian"). Today, another collegue offered me a cake, and I turned it down as well. When asked if why I couldn't take cakes, I stuttered and thought "Should I mention eggs? Or say I am a vegetarian?" In the end, I wasn't probed further, which was a relief :D

So far only two of my collegues knew I am a vegetarian because we had to go for lunch together on the first day. I could feel the tension inside when they were discussing where to go before they have not found out I eat no meat. But to my relieve they picked Tiong Bahru Market to eat out and it was great that it has two vegetarian stalls there. With time I hope my collegues will not be shocked to learn that I am an "EXTREME" vegetarian hehe...

13 comments:

Veg-a-Nut said...

You know, I was leary at first, but then I just made it be known and the fear of the unknown was gone. Everyone just accepts me as I am. I get asked alot of questions, of course, the normal,"what do you eat", but I give them my blog addy and tell them enjoy.

Freedom is good. I have one lady at work that is always bringing in food to share. Now she brings me a banana or some other piece of fruit.

Veggie Bun said...

hehe.. they are just being friendly since you are new they are treating you to their "goodies". I feel that it's better for you to tell them that you are vegan rather than make them think you are so unfriendly to decline the non-vegan food without giving proper reason.

bazu said...

I know how you feel. Even after all this time, there are times when I feel shy about saying the word "vegan." I don't know why! Part of me doesn't even think most people know what the word vegan means!

Edanator said...

"Vegan" has a negative ring in most people's ears (the ones who have heard it). If you tell someone in Sweden that you're a vegan, you immediately get a follow-up question "Are you militant?" (here militant=aggressive and violent). This is because most people first heard the word "vegan" during the 1990's when a group of "militant vegans" were burning slaughterhouse trucks and McDonalds restaurants. Despite that they stopped doing this over a decade ago (and that many of the "militant vegans" are back on a meat diet), we still have to excuse ourselves for what these boneheads did. Also, the "militant" fraction were very few in numbers, but the grabbed all the media attention from "normal" vegan activists who tried to make a change with peaceful methods.

Travegan said...

Hey, congrats on the job! Hope it's an enjoyable one, or at least useful and not too boring. :-) As for bringing up veganism, I mention it at the first opportunity to people since it's an integral part of who I am and that's what people are supposed to get to know in the first few days. Not in job interviews though unless asked (I think it's in my CV), so you're ahead of me there! :-P

dreamy said...

veg-a-nut and Jari I really admire ur courage to say it out! I really agree with "freedom is good" :) It's so much better with some of my friends who understand my lifestyle :) I will try to do that soon!

Yes I think they are just being friendly VB, that's y I said I can't eat the "stuff" they are giving me, and not just say "no thanks" hehe.. hope that helps them understand.

That's exactly what I felt Bazu :)

That sounds v bad Eda, the militant vegans really spoiled the image of normal vegans :(

Judith MacCaellich-Young said...

It can be difficult at first, but do let them know, then they will understand the turn down of goodies offered.

If I don't want to use the word vegan, I just say I am a strict vegetarian, and that gets around the militant thing.

Try taking some vegan treats into work, maybe you will find some converts! :)

dreamy said...

Yep! I told them I m a strict vegetarian. But when it comes to the word vegan. I dun think many ppl understand what it means haha... so I guess when they ask next time I can juz say I dun eat meat, eggs, or dairy. Hope it wun shock them too much :D

*AnN* said...

I see that having a group of vegetarian friends ard me really helped alot! I dun have much problems when dining, because i mainly go out with them. So...time to form a clique of vege group and hang out! ;)
Don't be afraid to stand up for ur own rights dear, perhaps u need more pple like u. I'll got a friend who's rare vegetarian. That's what i call, Extreme. haha~ She's a nice lady too, even asks people to become vegetarian as well...(although sometimes, its not good to impose our ideas onto people,she stands up to animal rights) ;)

dreamy said...

Hi annie :) yea I think it will be cool to have a veg group to hang out with for all ur meals, but then again, lunch time is too short :( What do u mean by ur friend is "extreme"?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dreamy

For me, i will tell my new colleagues when we have our 1st lunch together, to avoid any misunderstanding. Maybe, because I am a vegetarian and can eat more stuff, so that was not an issue at all.

As time goes by, it isn't much of a problem at all. It takes times, no worries.

I started by making jellies for my new colleagues and buying snack for them. And in return, they offer me lots of veg. stuff and one of Finance Mangers when she make quiche, she did one spinach quiche for me and another vegetarian in her team.

Often, when people heard about vegetarian, they are afraid that we trying to convert them. As long as you don't do that, things will be fine. Such conversation leave it till much later time when things are clearer.

Happy working. -- crystal

dreamy said...

Ah Crystal, yea I told them on the 1st lunch and we are not eating after the 2nd.. hahaha... I wish I am a good cook like you! :)

Anonymous said...

The initial period in any organisation is never that easy, unless you know someone there, to take care of you and go lunch with.

So, to merge into their, it takes times, because of the 'unsure' factor other have.

Have a lovely week, crystal :)

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